Making the transition to a healthy lifestyle can be daunting! I always base my meals around the following food items (and I cannot stress ORGANIC ORGANIC ORGANIC enough!!). I urge everyone to read up on GMOs and see why I eat ORGANIC and verified non-GMO food.
Healthy Oils: Oils, especially organic extra-virgin olive oil, offer heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Some, such as flaxseed oil, provide omega-3 fats.
Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds provide protein and healthy unsaturated fats; walnuts and flaxseed provide omega-3 fats. Nuts and seeds also offer fiber and important nutrients, such as vitamin E, iron and zinc.
Legumes—beans (including soybeans/edamame), lentils and dried peas—are the best sources of plant-based protein. Foods made from them (tofu, tempeh, falafel, humus) are good sources too (homemade burgers anyone?!). Legumes also provide fiber, vitamins and minerals, including iron and zinc (nutrients abundant in meat).
Whole grains should have a starring role in any veg-based diet, as they are excellent sources of carbohydrates (the “good” kind) and other essential nutrients: B vitamins, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, copper, magnesium and iron, just to name a few. To try: GF oats, brown rice, quinoa. (If you can tolerate gluten: whole-wheat pasta, Bulgar wheat).
Fruits and vegetables, with their abundance of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals (e.g., lycopene in red foods, beta carotene in orange foods, anthocyanins in blue/purple ones), should form the base of any vegetarian diet. EAT THE RAINBOW! That pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Your shining health!